PULL THE OTHER ONE: If you were to mention to someone unfamiliar with the topographic layout of the desert resort communities and their surrounding mountains that there was a way on a roasty August day, the kind of day where your legs stick to seats and your hair stays a little wet with sweat, to go to a nearby place that was notably cooler, well... they'd likely say "pull the other one." For summer in the Palm Springs area is known for its hot-a-tude, for flying past the 100-degree mark on the regular and staying pretty warm even at night, at least for several weeks spanning the middle of the year. But snug against the city -- so snug it has the city in its very name -- is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which delivers riders to a cooling mountaintop on those sweatiest of July afternoons. How cooling is Mountain Station, which is set in an alpine forest? So cooling that snow is regularly seen in the winter months and you just might want a long-sleeved shirt come summer. We know; long-sleeved anything seems fictional for any activities in and around the desert resorts from May to August. That toastier run, by the by, just happens to be when the Cool Summer Pass kicks in, at the tram.
MAY 1 THROUGH AUG. 31... are the dates on the pass, and it works like this: Pay seventy five bucks -- that's the adult price, kids are less -- and nab a ride-every-day-of-the-summer deal, a deal which also gives you a ten-percent discount at the restaurants up the mountain. And if you have six-or-fewer visitors who want to ride with you? They'll get ten-percent-off their admissions. Our question is this: Will some intrepid rider take on the tram every day, all summer long, without missing a beat? The better to enjoy the chillier mountain temps (well, "chillier" compared to the desert below)? It could be done. But even if you only go up four or five times over the whole long four-month stretch, you've locked up your savings. Will you want it when it is 107 out, with several days of toasty temps ahead? Go on and tell people unfamiliar with the area that there's an alpine situation close at hand. An alpine getaway that's yours any day of the summer with your pass. Hasta, heat.